Car blast kills at least seven on Turkey-Syria border

ANKARA Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:15am EST

A man walks past a damaged gate after an explosion at Cilvegozu border gate on the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay province February 11, 2013, in this picture taken by Anadolu Agency. REUTERS/Cem Genco/Anadolu Agency

A man walks past a damaged gate after an explosion at Cilvegozu border gate on the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay province February 11, 2013, in this picture taken by Anadolu Agency.

Credit: Reuters/Cem Genco/Anadolu Agency

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ANKARA (Reuters) - A car exploded at a border crossing on Turkey's border with Syria near the Turkish town of Reyhanli on Monday, killing at least seven people and wounding dozens more, officials said.

The mayor of Reyhanli told CNN Turk that four of those killed were Turkish and that the car which exploded had Syrian license plates. Witnesses said they saw it drive up to the border post shortly before the explosion.

"There are at least seven dead, 33 wounded and that number could go up ... We don't know whether this was a suicide bomb or whether a car that was smuggling petrol across the border blew up," one Turkish official told Reuters.

Television footage and photographs showed severe damage to a series of cars at the border, where a gate was blown open and part of the roof collapsed.

"There was an explosion in the no-man's zone. It was not a mortar attack. It was very strong," a Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

The Cilvegozu border gate, several kilometers outside the town of Reyhanli, sits opposite the Syrian gate of Bab al-Hawa, which the rebels captured last July.

Refugees cross back and forth and Turkish trucks also deliver goods into no-man's land between the two gates, where they are picked up by Syrians.

Turkey is a staunch supporter of the almost two-year-old uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has harbored both Syrian refugees and rebels.

(Reporting by Jonathon Burch, Ozge Ozbilgin, Daren Butler; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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